Typography and fonts are key components of your business’s visual identity. Unfortunately, many small business owners and entrepreneurs dismiss the value of good font selection or don’t know how to choose them.
Instead of having visual design and brand communication that attracts the kinds of customers they want, it appears amateurish and unprofessional.
In this article, you will learn what the best typography and font designs are and how they enhance the power of your branding and marketing.
Typeface vs. Font
Before we go any further, I would like to clear up a common misunderstanding around the terms typeface and font.
Typeface is a specific group or family of letters and characters that share the same design, often identified by name. For example, Georgia is a typeface, as are Times New Roman and Arial.
There are thousands of typeface families.
Font refers to typeface style, specifically its size, weight, and height. For example, a typeface can be styled in italics or bold font.
However, these terms are often used interchangeably today, with font being the most popular of the two. For that reason, I will use font exclusively for the remainder of this article.
So if you came here looking for the “best brand fonts”, you are in the right place.
For the record, there is one more term you need to know.
What is Typography?
Typography refers to the overall design and display of letters and text, whether in print or digital. Typography is used to format text for business cards, letterhead, and flyers as well as digital media like websites, social media platforms, and webinars. Regardless, great typography is essential for all brand communication.
Elements of typography also include, but are not limited to:
Line Length: number of characters between the left and right margins.
Kerning: space between characters, letters, or numbers.
Tracking: horizontal spacing of letters, numbers, or characters.
Choosing what fonts to use is only part of the brand font design process. Typography plays a significant role, often separating the amateur from the professional.
Serif or Sans-Serif?
It may sound strange, but each font has its own personality and unique appearance. The fonts you choose set the tone and feeling you want to communicate to your audience.
We will begin by looking at the two most popular font styles, Serif and Sans Serif.
Serif fonts have a decorative look that the sans-serifs do not have. On the other hand, sans-serif fonts are simpler, cleaner, and sometimes easier to read, especially in digital form.
If you’d like to read more about the differences between the two font styles, click here.
These two font style categories are best suited for brand font design, either individually or paired together. To illustrate, this article utilizes both. A sans-serif font is used for headlines and sub-headlines, and a serif font has been chosen for body text.
Each font has a unique purpose. Serif fonts, used almost exclusively in literature, are often associated with traditional businesses and convey a serious tone. Studies on fonts have shown that words such as “reliable”, “traditional”, “respectable”, “elegant”, “mature”, “expensive”, and “warm” come to mind when using serif fonts.
Sans-serif fonts are more commonly associated with modern, less formal designs. “Clean”, “modern”, “stable”, “progressive”, “neutral”, and “young” are words often associated with this type of font.
To illustrate the differences, I have provided a few examples of each.
Here are 3 serif fonts that make good brand fonts:
Brand Serif Font #1: Badoni
Brand Serif Font #2: Rufina
Brand Serif Font #3: Vidaloka
As I look at each of these, the words “trendy”, “elegant”, and “traditional” come to mind.
Now, here some great examples sans-serif fonts for branding:
Brand Sans-Serif Font #1: Glacial Indifference
Brand Sans-Serif Font #2: Bebas Neue
Brand Sans-Serif Font #3: Montserrat
As I look at these, I get a sense of neutrality, especially with Glacial Indifference and Montserrat. The second sans-serif, Bebas Neue, looks bold and modern.
Hopefully, this exercise gives you some insight into how your target audience will develop their own impressions of your brand fonts, whether consciously or subconsciously.
Don’t worry if you find this process challenging. Most people need help selecting and designing brand fonts. Find out how we make font design simple for you.
Other Font Classifications
There are other font classifications besides Serif and Sans-serif. Script, Monospaced, and Decorative fonts are often used in brand logos but aren’t always practical for extended display or body text. Therefore, I won’t list them here, nor would I recommend them for use as a standard brand font.
If you are interested in learning more about Script, Monospaced, and Decorative fonts, read this.
Your Target Audience and Brand Fonts
The fonts you select should resonate with your target audience. You don’t want to pick fonts that run counter to the attitudes or preferences of your prospective customers. Think about your existing customer base for a moment.
What is the average demographic—age, sex, etc.?
What are their hobbies and interests?
What products do they buy?
To keep it simple, create two sets of brand fonts and ask a select group of your best customers which one they like best. Or run a poll on social media and your website, asking visitors to vote on them.
It may seem like a lot of effort, but linking your brand fonts to your target customers’ preferences will make a positive impact on your branding and marketing.
Fonts also influence the conversion rate of marketing messages. This article explains how font selection influences the way content is perceived by the reader.
How to Choose the Best Fonts for Your Business
In this section, I will give you best practices for choosing brand fonts.
Select one font, but no more than two. Having more than two fonts can complicate the design process and make content distracting to read.
Are you going for a sophisticated look to attract upscale clientele? A serif font may work best. Do you want to come across as friendly and casual? In this case, sans-serif fonts are better.
Use fonts that align with how you want people to perceive your business. The tones we discussed in the previous section can help narrow the selection.
The fonts you choose should be easy to read. If people can’t read them, you have wasted the effort. Consider choosing a font that is easy to read on small screens (such as mobile phones and iPads). Some fonts are legible on larger screens, but less so on small ones.
If you choose two fonts, use one serif and one sans-serif for contrast. This article gives you an example of how to use one font type for headlines and sub-headings while using one for body text. Don’t pick fonts that are too similar.
Here are a couple of images showing how a Serif font and Sans-serif font work together:
This aspect of brand design can be complex. Get in touch with us and we will show you how to make it simple!
Fonts for Logos
When it comes to logos, the font you choose doesn’t have to be the same as those you have selected for your brand communication. It is fine if it stands alone. However, Serif and Sans-serif fonts are great choices for logos too.
To get a better idea of how serif and sans-serif fonts are used in logos, I have compiled a list of links to well-known company websites.
Remember, keep it simple. As you choose the best brand fonts for your business, experiment and solicit opinions until you have selected the perfect fonts.
We are here if you need help.
Until next time,